Sample Research Paper On Depression

If you are writing a depression research paper and you don't feel quite sure where to begin, the following are some topics which you may want to consider including in your paper. Links are included to relevant articles on the Depression site which will help you gather basic information for your paper; and, hopefully, trigger some ideas for topics which you can research further in the library and elsewhere on the Internet.

Unfortunately, I cannot grant personal interviews to students who are writing research papers.  You should, however, have plenty of good ideas for what you would like to include in your research paper after looking over this list of topics.

1. What Is Depression?

Everyone experiences times when they feel a little bit blue or sad.  This is a normal part of being human.  Depression, however, is a medical condition which is quite different from everyday moodiness.

2. What Types of Depression Are There?

There are several different types of depression, depending upon how an individual's depression symptoms manifest themselves.  Depression symptoms may vary in severity or in what is causing them.  They may also be part of an illness called bipolar disorder, which includes fluctuations between depression and a state of extreme elation called mania.

3. What Causes Depression?

The possible causes for depression are many and not yet well understood.  However, it is most likely that depression results from an interplay of genetic vulnerability and environmental factors.

4. Who Is at Risk for Depression?

Certain risk factors may make a person more prone to developing depression, such as a family history of depression, adverse childhood experiences, stress, illness and being female.

  This is not a complete list of all risk factors, however, it's a good place to start.

5. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

The signs of depression are those outward manifestations of the illness that a doctor can observe when she examines a patient, for example, a lack of emotional responsiveness.  On the other hand, symptoms are those subjective things about the illness that only the patient can observe, such as feelings of guilt or sadness.  In an illness such as depression, which is often invisible to the outside observer, it is very important for patients to make an accurate accounting of all of their symptoms so that their doctor can diagnose them properly.

6. How Is Depression Diagnosed?

In some ways, the diagnosis of depression is more an art than a science.  Doctors must generally rely upon the patient's set of symptoms and what they can observe about him during their examination in order to make a diagnosis.  While there are certain laboratory tests which can be performed to rule out other medical illnesses as a cause of depression, there is not yet a definitive test for depression itself.

7. How Is Depression Treated? 

The first choice for depression treatment is generally an antidepressant medication, with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) being the most popular choice due to them being quite effective and having relatively fewer side effects than certain older antidepressants.  Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is another effective and popular choice.  It is especially efficacious when combined with antidepressant therapy.  Certain other treatments, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), are most commonly used for patients who do not respond to the other two.


Ferri, Fred F. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2009. 1st ed. Philadelphia: Mobsy, 2009.

Moore, David P. and James W. Jefferson, eds. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2004.

What Type of Depression Are There?

If you are taking any sort of a psychology class in college, you will explore the complex mental health issue of depression. In order to demonstrate you grasp of this subject, you will likely be asked to write a depression research paper. Writing a good research paper on depression requires more than a general knowledge of the subject. You must focus on something more specific. One example would be a research paper on clinical depression in teenagers; another example would be a research paper on natural treatments for depression. If you read published research articles on depression, you will find that there is a lot of great data on this topic. This should help you, as you explore various depression research topics that you might want to use as the focus of your research paper. Because it can be difficult to narrow down the best topics for research papers on depression, here is a compiled list of topic ideas and writing prompts.

Depression Topics for Research Paper Assignments about Adolescents

  • Write a teenage depression research paper discussing the warning signs of depression in adolescent girls.
  • Consider research paper depression topics about the differences between the manifestations of depression in teenagers versus the manifestations of depression in adults. How do these differences impact proper diagnosis?
  • Write a research paper about depression that will convince school officials of the importance of learning the warning signs of depression.
  • A lot of research paper topics on depression tend to assume that adults and teenagers react the same to medications. Argue whether or not this is a valid assumption.
  • Compose a research paper on depression in teenagers that compares and contrasts the treatment methods used on older and younger teenagers.

Writing Prompts for Depression Research Papers Focusing on Under-Served Communities

  • Take the following depression research paper thesis into consideration: The homelessness issue is directly related to our government's failure to deal with mental health issues among the poor. Defend or contest this thesis.
  • Go on the internet and review depression research paper topics on the issue of mental health in the correctional system. Are inmates given adequate mental health treatment? Is it appropriate to house inmates who have depression or other mental illnesses away from other prisoners?
  • Do VA hospitals have the ability to treat depression and PTSD, or should the government contract with private hospitals to provide these services? This is a particularly “hot topic” right now.

Topic Ideas for Depression Issues Affecting Women

  • Write a research paper on postpartum depression. Do new mothers have adequate access to help and treatment? What can be done to educate families and partners about this illness?
  • Write a major depressive research paper on female patients. Is this condition under-diagnosed in favor of diagnoses that focus on hormonal or emotional issues?
  • Examine the impact of domestic violence on women with depression.

The complexities of depression and related mental health issues are apparent, and the entire topic provides for really interesting research and writing possibilities. If you need additional help with such a research paper, or any other academic writing assignment, contact the pros at and get the expert help you need. We’re “on call” 24 hours a day.

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